Edexcel GCE Applied ICT

Applied ICT

What is GCE Applied ICT?

- Applied ICT contains both 'user' and 'practitioner' units. Because ICT is used in almost every aspect of working life today these units help gain real life knowledge about how the world of ICT is helping online business, expand the Internet, manage ICT projects and most importantly allows the student to learn what are the impacts of ICT. From designing e-portfolios,finding specific and correct information from the Internet to learning VBA in access and excell and learning how ICT is changing the way we work is what Applied ICT is all about

The AS qualification has a broad appeal and developsstudents’ communication and decision making skills.These are harnessed to build and maintain an e-portfolioas a showcase for their achievements. The skills acquiredthrough study for the AS level in Applied ICT will support further study in any subject area.

The Double Award qualification at AS and A2 level introduces students to key aspects of the ICT practitioner role, including:
• System design and installation
• Software development
• Website design and management
• Technical support
• Networks and communications
• Working with end-users.

At INCIS we have high speed internet, a perfect environment to study with interactive learning.

Click Here to download Edexcel GCE Applied ICT Overview

In Single Award you only need to appear

Unit 1 , Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 7, Unit 8, Unit 9 or Unit 10 or Unit 11

The Double Award will result in TWO A-Level Qualification. For this, the student must appear all 12 units.

Here is a list of units covered in GCE Applied ICT.

Unit 1 - The Information Age.

Unit 2 - The Digital Economy.

Unit 3 - The Knowledge Worker.

Unit 4 - System Design And Installation.

Unit 5 - Web Development.

Unit 6 - Technical Support.

Unit 7 - Using Database Software.

Unit 8 - Managing ICT Projects.

Unit 9 - Communications and Networks.

Unit 10 - Using Multimedia Software.

Unit 11 - Using Spreadsheet Software.

Unit 12 - Customasing Applications.

Unit 13 - Web Management.

Unit 14 - Programming.

Detailed Lesson Plan
  • Unit 1
  • Unit 2
  • Unit 3
  • Unit 4
  • Unit 5
  • Unit 6
  • Unit 7
  • Unit 8
  • more

Topics Covered ( Unit 1 )


Communication email, instant messaging, message boards, online conferencing, blogs, newsgroups, chat, e-communities
Real Time Information train timetables, news services, traffic reports, weather
Commerce shopping, banking, auctions
Government online tax returns, e-voting, applications for services (e.g. university entry, business incorporations, land registration), revenue collection, health services like NHS Direct
Education VLEs, online learning, school web sites, school league tables, online revision, simulations
Business video conferencing, collaborative working, business networks
Entertainment multi-user games, radio players, sports, books
Download Services software, upgrades, music, film



Working Styles Communication Education Entertainment and Leisure Banking and Shopping
Decision Making Employment Opportunities Crime and Crime Prevention Civil Rights Legislation



The causes of the divide Choose three from:  technological, economic, social, geographical, fear, lack of motivation
The effects of the divide economic, social, educational, cultural
The extent of the divide Is it widening or narrowing?
Measures to narrow the divide Are they working?  What else could be done?
Benefits and drawbacks Consider the advantages and possible disadvantages of narrowing the divide.

Back to TOP

Topics Covered ( Unit 2 )

You have to produce an e-portfolio.  If you wish, this can be in the form of an e-book, like the one you produced for Unit One.  The portfolio must contain the following work:

A Commercial Transactional Web Site

Goods on offer Product descriptions Techniques to entice and retain customers Types of transactions Accessibility
Methods used to capture customer information Usability Site structure Ease of making a transaction Methods of purchasing
Ease of navigation Effectiveness of any multimedia features Colours and fonts Information about terms and conditions of purchasing Measures being taken to ensure security of customers' personal and credit card details
  • Consider the strengths and limitations of the site's design.

  • Recommend improvements that could be made to the site.

  • To have a chance of gaining top marks, demonstrate that you are a discerning customer by looking beyond the obvious features and understand what the designer is trying to achieve.  Comment on the "customer experience" and make suggestions for improvements.


Back Office Processes

Registering and logging in Searching for products Tracking customers' actions Maintaining the virtual shopping basket Abandoned baskets
The checkout process Stock control Authorising Payment Confirming and tracking an order Despatch and delivery
  • Your diagrams should show the chain of events and the information that flows between the customer, the different departments in the organisation, suppliers and other organisations that may be involved.

  • It is not strictly necessary to give a written description to accompany the diagrams but the diagrams should be clear and easy to understand, so pay attention to keys and labelling.


Threats to Customer Data

Viruses Hackers Spyware Hardware failure Human error
Dishonest employees Natural disasters Theft Terrorism Flood and fire

Describe the measures that a business can take to counter these threats.  Describe the effectiveness of these measures.  Examples are:

Risk Analysis Passwords Access levels Backup Anti virus measures
Training Firewalls Secure Electronic Transactions (SET) Encryption Physical security


  • You should obtain a data set independently or use the one supplied by Edexcel.

  • Design an efficient database structure for holding this data.  This structure should have at least two tables and a one-to-many relationship.

  • Create a design of the tables that shows field names, data types, sizes and validation.

  • Create a Test Plan for this database structure.  Include screen dumps to prove you carried out each test in the Test Plan.  If any tests fail, explain the failure, carry out corrective action and re-test.

  • Import the data into the database.  Check that the data has been imported correctly.

  • Create queries to identify some trends in the data.  Producing graphs and charts is an optional activity.

  • Interpret these trends and make recommendations based on them.  What sorts of decisions might be taken as a result of the trends you have noticed?

N.B.  Screen dumps should be used to evidence the tables, testing, importation of data, queries and any graphs or charts.


  • Evaluate your own performance in this unit.

  • Get comments from others on the database and give your response to this feedback.

  • Write a detailed evaluation of the database.

  • Recommend improvements to the database.

Back to TOP

Topics Covered ( Unit 3 )

Unit 3 is a timed practical examination.  Students will be expected to use spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel to solve problems and make decisions.

Spreadsheet Skills Students need to be very familiar with Microsoft Excel and some skills-building exercises will need to be done if they aren't.  We are intending to base practical exercises around the scenarios in:
Sample Examination

After that, students need some timed examination practice.  Edexcel have published a sample examination with two worked examples which would be very useful preparation.

Past Papers As the years go by, there will obviously be plenty of past papers to use with students.  The data files and scenario for the January 2006 examination are on the Edexcel site.  However, the paper and mark scheme need to be ordered from the Edexcel Publications Department.
Important Hints


Hints from the Examiner Report (Jan 2006):

  • The model and scenario are available three weeks prior to the examination, so students should be very familiar with them before the exam starts.
  • Timing is really important.  Suggested timings for different activities are on the paper.  Timed examination practice is essential.
  • Activity 5 (the Report) has to be written formally but all other activities can be answered in note form.

Instructions for the conduct of the examination are published on the Edexcel web site.

Back to TOP

Topics Covered ( Unit 4 )

Needs Analysis

  • Choose a client who has a need for a new computer system.  The client should have "complex needs", if you are to get good marks for this unit.

  • Carry out a thorough investigation into the client's needs and write a report on this investigation.  Methods of investigation include interviews, meetings, questionnaires, observation, document analysis, data analysis.  Make a list of what you consider your client's needs to be.  Areas for discussion include:

Budget Timescales Need for mobility Compatibility with existing software, hardware or file formats.
Printing needs Need for specific applications software ICT competence of the client, training and support needs. Ergonomics
Internet/wireless needs Other people who will use the system Security and backup needs File transfer needs
Multimedia needs Likely future needs    
  • Find two existing systems that meet the user's needs.  Describe the hardware and software components of these systems, their effectiveness and their usability.

  • Evaluate the advantages and limitations of these existing systems.


System Specification

  • You need to produce a detailed system specification, for a system that you will build, that meets your client's needs.  The specification needs to be written in clear non-technical language.

  • You need to justify and explain your choice of applications software, operating system software, hardware and mobile technology. 

  • Show that you understand the constraints (e.g. budget, ICT competence of your client, training requirements, product support, compatibility) that you are working within and explain how this has influenced your choices.

  • Consider the future needs of your client in your specification.

  • Include a Training Plan

  • Include a Test Plan

  • Include Health and Safety Guidelines, explaining why ergonomic components have been selected.


Building the System

  • With evidence such as videos, photographs and screen-dumps, you have to provide evidence that you have built and configured the system.  Tasks are likely to include:

Installing hardware (e.g. additional RAM or disk drives). Making changes to the BIOS (e.g. setting a BIOS password or changing power management options). Installing and configuring applications software. Installing and configuring anti-virus software.
Customising the user interface (e.g. icon size, font size, colour, background, icon choice). Creating and reconfiguring application toolbars. Creating start-up options. Assign actions to right and left mouse buttons.
Setting screen resolution. Change language and time settings. Creating and configuring user profiles. Setting default folder locations.
  • Provide a written commentary of your activities.  Explain how your customisation of the system will make it more appropriate to the specified purpose.


  • You must provide evidence (photographs and screen-dumps) that you have tested every aspect of the system (hardware and software).

  • Make judgements about how well the system works AND how well it performs.

  • Consider accessibility, usability and fitness for purpose.


  • Evaluate your own performance in this unit (how well have you worked?)
  • Evaluate the performance of the system you have built.
  • Get feedback from others (e.g. through questionnaires) and draw conclusions from this feedback.
  • Make sensible recommendations for hardware or software upgrades that could be done on this system

Back to TOP

Topics Covered ( Unit 5 )

Project Plan

  • Use project management software to plan the project. 

  • Tasks should be broken down into subtasks.

  • Schedule tasks in the correct order.

  • Allocate an appropriate amount of time to each task.

  • Identify key milestones.

  • Identify factors that might cause delays (and allocate catch-up time).

  • Whilst working on the plan, make effective use of the plan to monitor your progress.

Client Requirements

  • Use a variety of techniques (e.g. interview, questionnaires) to establish what your client wants from this web site.  You need to establish exactly what is required, such as:

The purpose of the site Target audience How users will access the site (hardware, software, connection) The information that must be provided
Features that must be included (e.g. logos, colours) User interaction that is required Visitor information to be collected Plans for maintaining and updating the site once it is created
Security requirements Legal requirements    
  • Create a structure chart for the web site.

  • Draw flowcharts to show how the site will be used and to illustrate interaction with the user.

  • Produce a storyboard to map out the layout and content of each page in the site.  The storyboard will be a detailed annotated design that should show:

Fonts, colours, tables Page names Hyperlinks and navigation bars/buttons Form fields and validation
Pictures (filenames, formats, sources) Interactive/dynamic features Animations Accessibility options


Building and Testing

  • Use web design software (e.g. FrontPage, Dreamweaver) to produce the site.  Keep screen-dumps as evidence of your work. 

  • Once a prototype version is up and running, show it to your user and get detailed feedback (e.g. in the form of a questionnaire or interview).  Make suitable changes as a result of the feedback.

  • Test the web site thoroughly.


  • Get feedback from your client on the completed site and comment on this feedback.

  • Evaluate the performance and functionality of the site.

  • Recommend improvements that could be made to the site.  Explain how these improvements would enhance the site.  Suggested improvements might be:

Online ordering/payment facility Improvements to security Giving a more personalised service to customers Allowing customer feedback or evaluation
Use of a database Allowing the client to edit the site Facilities to analyse site usage Multimedia features



  • Produce a detailed proposal for enhancing the functionality of the site to support e-commerce.
  • Explain how this proposal could be implemented.  The impact of the changes needs to be discussed.

Back to TOP

Topics Covered ( Unit 6 )

Installing and Testing Upgrades

  • You must provide evidence of having installed one hardware and one software upgrade to a computer system (this could be the system you built for Unit 4).

  • Provide evidence that you have tested these upgrades fully to ensure they work properly and to optimise performance.

Technical Support Manual

  • Produce an easy to follow technical support manual for the system you built for Unit 4.  This manual should tell the client how to carry out routine maintenance and troubleshooting without further assistance.  It might be a good idea to distinguish between maintenance and troubleshooting.  Suitable maintenance/troubleshooting tasks could be:

Virus checker updates Disk checking and defragmentation Backup, restore, archiving Removal of temporary files and cookies Spyware removal
Checking for and installing operating system updates Initial troubleshooting checks (e.g. is the computer plugged in?) Free diagnostic tools Booting to safe mode Online support facilities provided by manufacturers
  • Include a schedule for routine maintenance.


Collaborative Working Presentation

  • Create a presentation to describe four web-based tools for collaborative working e.g. group e-mail, instant messaging, web conferencing, video conferencing.

  • Identify at least three examples to illustrate the features of each web-based tool.

  • Clearly evaluate the capabilities and limitations of each tool.

  • Describe the process for setting up and using one of these tools.


Report on the Communication Needs of a Small Business

  • Produce a report (using simple, non-technical language) describing the communications needs of a specified small business (SME).
  • Describe both current and future needs.
  • Include justified recommendations for Internet connectivity (e.g. most effective method of connection, choosing an appropriate ISP, advice on hardware and software required.)
  • Include justified recommendations for security measures (identify threats and counter-measures e.g. virus protection, hackers, firewalls, spyware, data mining, e-mail address protection, denial of service attacks, digital security certificates.)
  • Include justified recommendations for an Internet access policy.
  • Include justified recommendations for use of e-mail (consider spam, filtering, digital signatures, out of office responses, address books and distribution lists, virus checking, disabling HTML e-mails, size and type of attachments, web based e-mail, legal requirements).

Back to TOP

Topics Covered ( Unit 7 )

  • This unit is a practical database examination.  Most candidates will probably use Microsoft Access.

  • The unit is compulsory for all candidates taking the A2.

  • N.B. Instructions for the conduct of this examination will eventually appear here.  The guidance on this page is what we believe is likely to happen but centres should not rely on this guidance.  Please read this disclaimer!

  • A Sample Examination is now on the GCE Applied ICT Microsite.

Scenario (pre-release) A scenario will be produced as pre-release materials three working weeks before the exam.  Obviously, the intention is that teachers will talk through this scenario with candidates
Activity 1 This is likely to be a functional specification for a database.
Activity 2 This is likely to involve designing the structure of the database in third normal form and producing an ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram).  Candidates will be expected to design the attributes of tables, including validation rules.
Activity 3 Candidates will probably be expected to produce the interface for the system (including forms, subforms and switchboards).
Activity 4 Candidates will probably be expected to produce some sort of complex report with calculations (e.g. an invoice). 
Other Points The exam will last 10 hours but will probably not be taken in a single sitting.  During the exam, teachers will obviously not be allowed to help students and in between sessions candidates must not have access to their exam work.  However, in between sessions, students might be able to seek general guidance about how to perform certain functions in Microsoft Access and they might be able to consult manuals and other tutorial materials.  The instructions for the conduct of the examination should clarify exactly what is and is not allowed.  Whatever regulations eventually appear, it seems clear the structure and timing of the examination needs to be carefully planned by the centre.

Back to TOP


  • This unit is compulsory for all candidates taking the A2.

  • This unit is about Project Management.  It is not really about how well the students use software applications.  Students must produce a system but the vast majority of the marks are given for the quality of project management, rather than the quality of the system.

  • Students should use project management software.  Microsoft Project is good but expensive.

  • One way to approach this unit is for students to produce a relational database system using Microsoft Access.  The system they produce for this unit would be very useful preparation for their Unit 7 database exam.

  • Our favoured approach is to combine Unit 8 with either Unit 10 (Using Multimedia Software) or Unit 11 (Using Spreadsheet Software).  The two units can be combined in a single e-portfolio that can then be submitted for both units.

  • Real end users are not necessary and it is perfectly acceptable for teachers to set projects.  The chosen project should be complex enough to take ten weeks to complete.

  • It is necessary that a variety of individuals should act as "stakeholders" i.e. a senior manager, a reviewer, customers and users.  Students can act as "peer reviewers".  The class could be split into "management groups".  Regular review meetings need to be held and minutes of these meetings need to be written up as part of the evidence for this unit.

  • The "end of project review" is particularly important and this needs to take place, even if the student fails to finish the project.  The date of this review should be set at the start of the project.

Back to TOP

  • Unit 9
  • Unit 10
  • Unit 11
  • Unit 12
Topics Covered ( Unit 9 )

  • This will be a networking examination.  It will be compulsory for candidates taking the A2 double-award. 

  • There will be a pre-release scenario.  The exam will last 10 hours.

  • The specification recommends www.pctechguide.com and www.comptechdoc.org as useful reference materials.

  • Candidates will need access to a range of components to produce simple peer-to-peer networks.  They will have to install and configure network operating system software.

Topics Covered ( Unit 10 )

Project Proposal and Functional Specification (10 marks)

  • Identify a suitable problem that you can solve by producing a multimedia product.  Identify a series of stakeholders who you will be working for and working with.  These could include the following:
Senior Management Customers/Clients Users
Project Manager Team Leader Peer Reviewers
  • Produce a detailed Project Proposal, that must provide the following detail:

What the project is about What the project will deliver Potential risks
Impact on personnel and practices The functions that the system must perform Who will use the product
How long the project will take (including the expected delivery date) Resources needed Different ways of tackling the project (including your recommendations)
  • Once they have received your proposal, senior management must approve your project. 

  • Produce a document entitled "Definition of Scope", that includes the following detail:

Reasons for undertaking the project Expected benefits Constraints
Resource requirements (people, equipment, time) A "Project Roadmap" (including review dates and an estimated delivery date) Areas of risk
A clear set of objectives and success criteria The information that the system will communicate  


Project Plan (12 marks)

  • You must identify the phases of the project.  This should cover the sequence of analysis, initial design, prototyping, formative testing, summative testing, documentation and handover to the customer/client.  You should divide each of these phases into a series of subtasks, listed in a logical order.
  • You should use Project Management software to produce a gantt chart to show the following:
The start and end dates of each activity Dependencies (which tasks are dependent on other tasks being completed) Resources required for each activity
Dates of key milestones Risks, the likelihood of these risks and how they can be minimised Contingencies for overruns
  • Throughout the project, this plan must be used to monitor progress.  The plan should be updated where necessary.


Design and Prototyping (16 marks)

  • A series of designs should be produced that should include both initial designs and prototypes.  The designs/prototypes should include detail about:
Colours (including consideration of web-safe colours) Fonts Screen size
Consistency Corporate/brand image (e.g. logos) Navigation (e.g. image maps, buttons, hot spots, text links, rollovers, menus)
Interactivity User response methods (e.g. text boxes, list boxes, radio buttons, check boxes) Awareness of purpose/audience
The user interface How ready-made and original multimedia components will be combined  
  • Each prototype must be evaluated (including evaluation by other stakeholders).  You must show how this feedback was used to refine and develop the design.  You must consider fitness for purpose and awareness of audience.


Implementation (28 marks)

  • You must produce an attractive, fully-working and easy-to-use multimedia product.  This must be a standalone, "runtime" product in which you have combined ready-made and original multimedia components, such as:
Images Use of a digital camera or graphics software to capture/create images. 

Use image editing software to manipulate images.

Consideration of compression, formats and image resolution.

Video Capturing ready-made or original video files.

Use of video editing software.

Consideration of compression methods, formats and resolution.

Sound Recording or importing.


Consideration of compression methods and formats.

Animation Types of animation include stop frame, tweened and animated GIF.
  • You must produce a comprehensive "Getting Started With . . ." guide to help a novice user install and use the product.

  • For full marks, the product must meet all the objectives specified in the Project Proposal, the project must have been conducted according to the sequence/timings of the phases and activities specified in the Project Plan.


Testing (8 marks)

  • You must show evidence of formative testing through your prototyping, as the product is developed.  You must then carry out summative testing, which is done on the finished product.
  • In the summative testing, you should concentrate on carrying out a variety of different types of tests, rather than repeated examples of the same type of test.  Different types of tests include:
Ensuring that the product meets all the objectives/success criteria in the specification. Establishing that the interactive features work correctly. Testing the links to ensure that they work. Finding out how robust the product is.  Can it be made to fail?
Finding out if novice users can use the product without help. Finding out what others think of the design/layout. If data is to be entered in the system, specify normal, extreme and invalid test data. "Acceptance Testing", where the customer/client determines whether or not to accept the product by deciding how well it meets the agreed acceptance criteria.
  •  Test evidence must include screenshots and evidence of the comments of others.


Meetings and Reviews (20 marks)

  • You need to hold regular meetings with different stakeholders.  You should draw up agendas and take formal minutes that provide accurate and up-to-date information.  This documentation should show that you have made good use of feedback to take corrective action where necessary.
  • These meetings must include an "End of Project Review".  This is a very important meeting in which the project is formally closed down.  All the stakeholders involved should have the opportunity to air their views about the strengths and weaknesses of the project and to formulate a list of lessons learnt.  The original objectives/success criteria should be used as a yardstick to measure achievement.


Evaluation (26 marks)

  • Evaluate the product, concentrating on the extent to which it meets the specified requirements.

  • Fully explain any shortcomings.

  • Draw on feedback from others.  You should refer to the Testing section and the End of Project Review.

  • Make sensible recommendations for improving the product.

  • Consider the effectiveness of the project management methods that you have employed.

  • Consider your effectiveness as a project manager (assess strengths and weaknesses).  Explore key lessons learned.

  • Include some justification of your actions and decisions.  Identify areas for self-improvement.

Topics Covered ( Unit 11 )

  • This unit could be combined with Unit 8 (Managing ICT Projects).  The suggested sequence of activities would the same as for our project which combines Unit 8 and Unit 10 and these guidelines could be amended by a centre wanting to combine Unit 8 with Unit 11.

  • For centres doing the double-award, this unit could be combined with Unit 12 (Customising Applications), for which candidates could use VBA to enhance the functionality of the spreadsheet system.

  • Alternatively, Unit 11 can be tackled as a standalone project.  These Project Guidelines outline the major activities to be carried out. 


Guidelines for Tackling Unit 11 as a Standalone Project

1.  Functional Specification (4 marks)

You need to produce a complete functional specification and clear success criteria.  You need to specify the context, the nature of the problem, the task(s) that the spreadsheet will perform and how you will judge the effectiveness of the solution.


2.  Design and Prototyping (16 marks)

You need to produce an initial design and a series of prototypes.  The prototypes should include the following detail:

Processing The structure of the spreadsheet Data entry and validation Layout and presentation
Output Future proofing (e.g. templates, how values can be changed, protection) Calculations How data will be merged from different sources
Sorting, grouping, filtering and pivoting data Importing and exporting data Fonts, colours, borders, shading Conditional formatting
Headers and footers Graphics and animation Forms (e.g. list boxes, combo boxes) Cell protection
Cell formats Prompts and messages for users Macros Charts and graphs

Each prototype must be evaluated (including evaluation by others).  You must show how this feedback was used to refine and develop the design.  You must consider fitness for purpose and awareness of audience.


3.  Implementation (18 marks)

You now need to produce a fully-working spreadsheet system that meets all of the requirements of the functional specification. 

You must produce a comprehensive documentation that will allow other users, enabling them to use the spreadsheet without assistance.  This document must also contain sufficient technical information to enable another competent professional to understand how the spreadsheet works and to be able to maintain it without assistance.


4.  Testing (8 marks)

You must show evidence of formative testing through your prototyping, as the product is developed.  You must then carry out summative testing, which is done on the finished product.

In the summative testing, you should concentrate on carrying out a variety of different types of tests, rather than repeated examples of the same type of test.  Different types of tests include:

Ensuring that the product meets all the objectives/success criteria in the specification. Do all functions and formulae work correctly? Using normal, extreme and invalid test data to see if the validation works correctly. "Acceptance Testing", where the customer/client determines whether or not to accept the product by deciding how well it meets the agreed acceptance criteria.
Finding out if novice users can use the product without help. Is the underlying logic of the spreadsheet correct? Finding out how robust the product is.  Can it be made to fail? Making use of auditing tools in the software that can identify errors in formulae.

Test evidence must include screenshots and evidence of the comments of others.


5.  Evaluation (14 marks)

The starting point of the evaluation should be the set of objectives/success criteria in the specification.  The key question to ask is how well the spreadsheet system meets these requirements.  If you haven't specified a good set of success criteria, it is unlikely that you will produce a good evaluation.  Refer to your test evidence to inform your evaluation.

Assess your own performance and skill-level critically.  Identify areas for improvement, including your further training needs.

Draw on feedback from others.  Since your testing should have included finding out if others can use the spreadsheet without assistance, you could draw on this evidence in your evaluation.


Topics Covered ( Unit 12 )

Most candidates will use an event-driven programming language such as VBA to enhance functionality of a database or spreadsheet.  See VBA Tutor for ideas and guidance.

An alternative idea would be to use javascript to enhance a web site.

Centres could think about combining this unit with others e.g. use VBA with Excel to enhance the spreadsheet system produced for Unit 11.






© copyright 2009 www.Incis.info Created By Applied ICT Students